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Protecting Software and Rock Solid Documentation

WebsitesUnleashedWebsitesUnleashed subscriber Posts: 4
edited August 2008 in Protecting Your Ideas
I`ve been researching several ideas over the last two years of high school. I have finally settled on what I think is the dream opportunity for a new business idea. I`ve researched through over a dozen worthy ideas and attempted a few personally. However, while I am not as worried, my father is, because he was exploited by a 17M company over a utility design he did for them that they ended up patenting behind his back. He is very concerned about my idea being `copied` by a larger company that will out-market me with the millions they have on hand- which is a legitimate problem.
My question is how or what I should do about documenting and protecting a mostly software based idea. Increasing my nerves, I`ve recently read about the Patent offices implementing new criteria that renders some major software companies patent-less. I don`t think the article`s point of `concepts that need to change something` apply to my idea. However, I have little faith in our patent system in general.
I read the SuN guide for the invention process, but I am asking for a more detailed answer on documentation. I don`t mind taking pictures of the plan every week if I have to, but I need to know what would be a solid process for documenting, that will hold up in court as date evidence. Something for me to have as an option to go after any copy cats by proving I held the original design/patent inquiry. Eg. The facebook lawsuit
I don`t have the money to go through a patent process right now, as I will be using my savings for the development. But if I get good feedback post-development I will probably (90% likely) invest in a patent. Would post-development be too late? What are some other things I can do to protect myself? For instance, are NDA`s appropriate before discussing development of `patentable` software? Are NDA`s enforceable internationally? Should I avoid the risks by developing between my self and close individuals (this is doable, but is not preferrable)? Theoretically the idea has the potential to net more money than I consider morally acceptable to spend on oneself.
Thank you in advanced for any advice.


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    WebsitesUnleashedWebsitesUnleashed subscriber Posts: 4
    Thank you for your detailed response. I mostly agree with you about the `fear` issue holding oneself back, but as younger person I don`t want to be naive on the appropriate process of things and pay for it in the end. However, I do greatly agree with your opinion that with software, being first to market is the best strategy. I will definitely read `Getting Real`; thanks for the reference.
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    DeenaEsqDeenaEsq subscriber Posts: 0
    I`m not a patent lawyer and I`m not really sure what your situation is, but if you want to protect the software and the code behind it, you can certainly file copyright on it at a minimal cost.  It will only protect your expression of the software, but it`s protection that more and more software companies are using.  Also, it gives you proof positive of the date of creation. 
    If you have other questions, feel free to PM me.
    Any opinions are offered without knowledge of the specific law of your jurisdiction and with only the limited information provided in your post.  No advice given here should be reasonably relied upon by you or any third party without consulting an attorney who is aware of all of the facts and law surrounding your situation.  Any advice given here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship in any way.
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    patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    I don`t have a lot of confidence in NDA`s.  There are usually lots of holes in enforcement.
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